The Courtship of Harry and Bess
Harry S. Truman and Bess Wallace carried on a nine-year courtship almost entirely through letters and some supervised visits. Harry first met Bess when they attended Sunday school together in 1890. Harry was six years old and Bess was five.
By 1910, Harry began what some call his longest “campaign” — the courtship of Bess Wallace. Nine years after sending his first letter, Harry and Bess married on June 28, 1919.
Below are a selection of letters, one from each year of their courtship, that give brief insights into Harry’s feelings for Bess and his determination to one day wed the “one girl in the world” for him.Read More
The Women’s Armed Services Integration Act
Of the many decisions, acts, policies and executive orders signed by former President Harry S. Truman, one of the most famous remains his decision to desegregate the military. Truman’s Executive Order 9981 (July 26, 1948) figures prominently in ongoing discussions on civil rights and equality today.
Yet while Executive Order 9981 is perhaps one of Truman’s most progressive pieces of legislation, his decision to sign the Women’s Armed Services Integration Act in the same year suggests Truman recognized a need for even more equalizing change in the United States military. Read More
The Steel Strike of 1952 and Harry Truman’s Declaration of National Emergency
Using his executive powers, Harry S. Truman declared a “limited” National Emergency on December 16, 1950 under the perceived threat of communism spreading throughout the globe via North Korean forces.
Now, THEREFORE, I, HARRY S. TRUMAN, president of the United States of America, do proclaim the existence of a national emergency, which requires that the military, naval, air, and civilian defenses of this country be strengthened as speedily as possible to the end that we may be able to repel any and all threats against our national security and to fulfill our responsibilities in the efforts being made through the United Nations and otherwise to bring about lasting peace. Read More
President Harry S. Truman and President Lyndon B. Johnson enjoyed a friendship stemming from a shared belief in national healthcare, civil rights, and other policies that endured through Johnson’s presidency and beyond. Johnson attributed many of his successes to the early steps that Truman took on these important policies. “It was really Harry Truman of Missouri who planted the seeds of compassion and duty which today have flowered into care for the sick and serenity for the fearful,” Johnson said. Read More
A Note from Clifton Truman Daniel
Clifton Truman Daniel is the oldest grandson of President Truman and a former newspaper writer, editor and public relations professional. He lectures on his grandfather and plays President Truman in the one-man show, “Give ‘Em Hell Harry!,” the first time in history a U.S. president is being portrayed onstage by a descendant. In addition to his honorary chairmanship of the Truman Library Institute, Daniel is also board secretary of the Truman Scholarship Foundation.
He wrote the following reminiscing about a memorable holiday with this grandfather:
When I was five or six, my father took me to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I fell in love with the band uniforms – the buttons, the braid, the plumes on the helmets. Later, when Dad asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I said, “One of those.” Read More
The Pandit and the President
Marc Reyes is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History at the University of Connecticut. A Kansas City native, Marc’s research interests include U.S. foreign relations history and modern South Asia. Marc is a Fulbright-Nehru Fellow and will spend most of 2019 in India. His time there will assist him in completing his dissertation, a cultural and political history of India’s atomic energy and nuclear weapons programs.
Marc wrote the following guest blog post about Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s first visit to the U.S. in 1949 and President Truman’s reception of him. Read More
On November 1, 1948, Harry Truman was home in Independence, awaiting the presidential election the following day after the exhaustion of his Whistle Stop campaign. He addressed the people one more time, this time in his hometown, in the speech below:
November 1, 1948, Election Eve
I want to thank Senator Barkley for his generous introduction, and to say what I have said before — that no candidate for President ever had a finer running mate. The people of this country are everlastingly in his debt for his leadership in their interest. Senator Barkley will go down in history as one of our greatest public servants.
During the past two months the Senator and I have been going up and down the country, telling the people what the Democratic Party stands for in government. I have talked in great cities, in State capitals, in county seats, in crossroad villages and country towns. Read More
Truman fan’s greatest wish comes true
John Nappi was 14 when Harry Truman became president in 1945. From that moment until Mr. Nappi’s passing late last year, Truman was not just his favorite president but his hero.
“Harry represents everything my dad values about this country and the American Dream,” said Debbie Mayo, Nappi’s daughter. “Harry grew up in a working class family – like my dad, was an avid reader – like my dad, and stood by his convictions, even if they were unpopular – like my dad. Harry was the classic underdog who worked hard, had grit and determination and never gave up.” Read More
An Evening With David McCullough
More than 850 passionate Harry Truman fans packed into the Muehlebach Hotel on April 19, 2018, for the 19th annual Wild About Harry, featuring honored guest David McCullough. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the definitive biography Truman was honored that evening with the Harry S. Truman Legacy of Leadership Award then gave the following remarks. We are honored to share an excerpt from his speech:
Good evening and thank you very, very much. I feel back home again. I feel the feeling that I have in general that we are a good people, we are a good country, we are good citizens, we care about the future, and we care about the past. And to have so much of that feeling, a projection of that attitude all in one room is heartening in the extreme. And what a proud moment to have an award presented by Harry Truman’s grandson. Read More
70 Years Later, a look back at this history-jammed 12 months
The following piece was contributed by A.J. Baime, author of The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months that Changed the World who is currently working on a book about the 1948 election. It originally appeared in the 1948 Commemorative Issue of TRU Magazine.
In the early evening of November 2, 1948, a secret service car pulled up behind Harry Truman’s home in Independence, Missouri, and scooped up the President of the United States. The car motored north out of town and over the Missouri River. It was Election Night, and Truman had just completed the most exhausting campaign of his life. In the quiet town of Excelsior Springs, he checked into a room alone at the Elms Hotel. Few outside of Mrs. Truman knew of his whereabouts. Read More